Canada's Sports Hall of Fame Canadian History and Society: Through the Lens of Sport Virtual Museum of Canada


Over the course of Canadian history, women have overcome significant gender barriers limiting their participation in sport. In the late nineteenth century, strenuous physical activity was viewed as a threat to women's health and the established social order. However, when cycling became a popular pastime in the 1890's, female participation in a wider variety of sports quickly increased. As their social roles expanded over the first half of the twentieth century, many pioneering female athletes began to find competitive success, proving they possessed the strength, stamina and ability to succeed in sports from which they had historically been excluded. While ideas about women's participation in sport have changed dramatically, female athletes in twenty-first century Canada continue to overcome challenges and social expectations that undervalue their abilities and potential. Demonstrating tenacity and determination, their achievements continue to inspire ever-increasing numbers of girls to take up sport with confidence and courage.

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